Pretesting…a lost art?

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There was a time when collecting quantitative data, more often than not, involved a conversation. And the conversation was a game where the respondent seemed to hold all of the cards. A lengthy interview, a poorly worded question, a missing response option – all represented excuses for the respondent to dismiss you by hanging up or otherwise ending the interview.

Can you tell I was an interviewer?

At that time, phone pretests often involved a painful process of listening to hours of rejections and hang-ups…but the result was invariably worth the price – a survey that more accurately collected the intended data.
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The Tortoise Wins Again. Faster Data Collection Is Not Always Better.


At the risk of sounding like my grandfather, I’ve seen a lot of change in my career in terms of the speed at which we can deliver insights. Back in the day, we used to send tabs and reports to clients via snail mail. No, we didn’t use the Pony Express, but compared to today’s technology standards, it seems as though we weren’t far from that. ☺

I know I’m stating the obvious when I say that the advent of online interviewing brought a dramatic change in the speed at which we can collect data and deliver insights. And with lightning-fast capabilities sometimes comes the perception that we should collect vast amounts of data as fast as we can, maybe in just a couple of days at most. I understand that perception. And I understand the need for speed to insight in today’s world. But is faster always better?
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Valentine’s Day – An obligation

We were curious how our friends, family and clients planned to spend their Valentine’s Day. So we did a quick informal poll with a little bit of humor. Remember this is not science and while we completed 150 interviews we won’t even discuss the inevitable margin of error.

So here are some of the highlights of our quick little poll…

“I do it for her,” probably not surprising, men are much more likely to celebrate Valentine’s Day solely to keep their partner happy. This may explain why women are more likely to claim “Oh is this Valentine’s day week.”

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Older folks were more likely to state they actually look forward to this day. Assuming age is an indicator of longer relationships – this suggests that familiarity does not breed contempt.

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Many of our followers are traditionalists – they celebrated by flowers, candy and other types of gifts followed by a dinner out yesterday. There was some time shifting to weekend celebrations.

Romance beyond the living room didn’t appear to be on the agenda yesterday. Men clearly see an opportunity to share a good bottle of wine with their partners, but there was little indication of amorous activities from men or women. At least no one admitted getting tipsy and seeing what panned out. Further, only 1% participant indicated a romantic getaway was in order.

V_day_getawayWe should note that reading 50 Shades of Grey either alone or with your partner was ignored by all. We’re not sure but this may be an indication of the literary sophistication of our audiences.

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Candies and Flowers or Die Hard Movies – How will you spend Valentine’s Day?

Valentine's_dayWe were sitting around earlier this week talking about our plans for Valentine’s Day. MSI’s plans ran the gamut from the full blown traditional flowers, candies and dinner out to the “I hate hallmark holidays”. So we wondered what other people were planning to do on the eve of this occasion (one which some of us love while the rest of us – well you get the point).

So in our continuing efforts to have a little fun in the “This is not science” area of our Beer Bloggles, we decided to ask our friends, families and followers to tell us what their plans are. We have put together a very short (and somewhat humorous) survey on your plans for Valentine’s Day. So take a moment and let us know your thoughts.

The survey is available at http://tinyurl.com/MSIValentineSurvey and will be available through tomorrow evening.

And check back on Friday when we publish the results.

XOXOXO

BB

Big Data Scientists – Fact or Fiction An Interview with Dr. Mark Hayward, University of Texas

Big_Data_MSIRecently I have read a number of articles about Big Data Scientists. Actually, they have been about Scientists, Analysts, Researchers, etc. Nobody knows what to call them, so I’ll use the term “Scientists.”

And similarly, no one seems to agree on where they come from (or where they should come from). The arguments range from IT, Business Analysts and Statisticians to Social Scientists. As I read these debates, my gut reaction was to believe the best data scientists will come from the social sciences.
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Respondent Respect

We’re now the elders. We’ve been in the field so long we raise the average age of attendees around a conference room table. Our experience dates back to when Marketing Research required actual maps for sampling. Marketing Research has evolved considerably so is what we learned so very long ago still meaningful?
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Infographics: The Art of Visualizing Research

A few years back, I was invited to attend a webinar designed to help us think about how to express our study results in a more visually appealing manner than the usual bar, line and pie charts and endless tables filled with numbers that one typically sees in a market research report. It sounded like a great idea until I read the synopsis, which made some grand statement about visually displaying data without showing any numbers. At the time I thought ‘Are they crazy? No numbers? They do realize that we need to defend our insights with the actual numbers revealed by the study, don’t they?’
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How Big is “Big Data”

Right now Big Data is REALLY big – HUGE even (don’t you hate that word). Not a day goes by without someone posting a blog or writing an article on the value of Big Data.  And why shouldn’t they? The reality is that all of our clients are sitting on huge amounts of information about their customers and prospects – yes, terabytes and terabytes as most are fond of saying. The value of this information is immeasurable. And when we can derive actionable insights from this data the return is immense. The data itself is free (although sometimes integration of multiple databases can be a challenge) therefore insights gleaned from this data can have a major  impact on our product development and customer experience initiatives without requiring significant financial resources (OK, I realize that the advanced analytics aren’t cheap, but they are relatively inexpensive in the grand scheme of things).

But is Big Data really big enough to drive truly actionable market insights by itself? 
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Archetypal Analysis: Segmenting on the Extremes

So, I’m one to generally heed the sage advice to not talk about religion or politics with friends and family (though I sometimes cannot help myself :)).  But if you’re like me, you’ve likely been forced to at least think about or possibly even divulge your political affiliation during the current election season here in the U.S.

The simple question we’re asked is:  are you Conservative, Liberal, or Moderate?
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